4 Secret tips for creating a compelling video pitch
Post by Jeff Clark, Senior Product Marketing Manager, AT&T Developer Program
We just introduced video pitches at some of our recent hackathons. The concept is working so well, that we’ll be watching a team’s video pitch to judge the first round of entries at the Shape Hackathon at AT&T Park. This blog will explore how to create a compelling video pitch with a focus on creating one for use at the AT&T Shape Hackathon. Most of these tips apply to any AT&T Hackathon and many for creating general pitch videos at an event.
1. Review the Event Requirements
The first thing to review are the video pitch requirements for the event you’re attending. For AT&T Shape:
• Videos will be used for the Round 1 judging process.
• The video must be three minutes or less in length.
• The video must be uploaded to an accessible distribution site (e.g. YouTube, Dropbox, Facebook, Vimeo, etc.)
• A working public link to the video must be created and the video should be playable from the web using the sites built in player.
• The team must register before 12 pm PT on Saturday and the registration form must contain the video link.
Always follow the requirements for the event; the last thing you want is a technical disqualification. If you have questions about a requirement, try to get more details before you arrive. The better prepared you are before the event the less you have to worry about once you’ve arrived.
2. Get Your Equipment Ready
Before attending the event, you should determine how you will record your video. Smartphone cameras have come a long way, and they have the benefit of having a built-in network connection to upload your video. Unless you have a team member who is a budding videographer, this is probably a good way to go.
Have a microphone option: The microphone on a set of ear buds will work. You can also get wired lapel microphones for your smartphone, and there are a host of wireless Bluetooth options. Whatever option you choose, make sure it provides clear sound, and that you have enough cord length so you can easily face the camera and turn phone around to record your demo. Finally, if you choose to bring a Bluetooth headset it may be smart to bring a wired backup in case there are Bluetooth problems at the event.
Test everything before you arrive: This is important, don’t take this step for granted. You don’t want the first time you try to create a video to be at the event. Record a video with sound using the microphone you plan to use. Upload it and get the link. Send the link to a friend and make sure they can view the video. If you plan to edit your video before uploading it, test the editing software and any features you plan to use.
3. Scout a Location at the Event
When you arrive at the event, find two or three potential spots where you’re going to make your video. Look around for some quieter spots that you can use this will help with the overall audio quality. The closer you get to the deadline the more likely these spots will be in use. Plan ahead and scout out some alternatives. Remember everyone will be under pressure to shoot a video pitch as the deadline arrives, so be nice.
You do not need everyone to talk on the video. Choose one or two people to represent the team on the video. Practice a few times in order to reduce the number of times you need to do a “hand off” during your video.
Have a planned time when you will stop and make your video, and don’t wait till the last minute. Give yourself and your team some time to make a good video. Plan on doing more than one “take.” If you want to do any editing, make sure you have time for that as well.
4. Get Right Into Demoing your Project
Horizontal videos typically look better when viewed, so record in landscape mode, with your phone held horizontally. Start the video with a brief introduction to your project (team name, project name, problem the project solves) and then start demoing your project. Seriously, be sure to actually demo your project. The judges need to see it working, in addition to hearing what you did. Save any extra information for the end of the video.
During the video focus on letting the judges see the demo and understand what you are doing. Watch out for things that are too small or too dark to see. Focus your demo on the things that make your project unique. Don’t spend time showing things that anyone can do. A good example is your login process. Unless there is something unique about logging in, move quickly past that by saying ‘and you log in’.
The focus of the video should be on pitching your project, not a story about “the making of” your project. Avoid having a lot of video recorded before you demo the project.
Once demo is complete, end the video by introducing and thanking your team. You can skip this if you don’t have time. At the very end of the video, say or show a contact email address this will provide the judges an easy way to get back to you. Remember videos live on, should someone see the video months from now, you want them to be able to contact you and your team.
Review the Video, Editing is Optional
Unless it is one of the event requirements, editing the video is NOT required, but you should review the video to ensure it says what you want about your project and highlights what makes it special. Also, make sure your video fits within the allotted timeframe and meets all the event requirements. If you do choose to edit your video, double check the demo shows that the project actually did what you said it would.
Happy with how the video turned out? Great! Now you just need to upload it, get the link and send it to another device to verify it plays to the end. Then share the link with the judges and confirm the link you submit on the form is the correct link (especially, if you did a couple of takes).
Combine these techniques with an interesting project, add just a little razzmatazz, and for a compelling video to not only show the judges, but to others as well.
For more on articles on AR, VR and all things video, see our new AT&T Video and VR site.